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By ESPN Staff

Kinnear won't return to St James'

Newcastle have confirmed that Joe Kinnear is not returning as manager, following reports that the 62-year-old was poised to resume at the helm as efforts to sell the club continue.

However, the Magpies have released a statement insisting there are no immediate plans to bring Kinnear back.

A statement said: "Reports in the press this morning that Joe Kinnear is to be appointed as Newcastle United manager are not true.

"The position remains that the club is still in the market to be sold and is still negotiating with prospective buyers.''

Meanwhile, experienced midfielder Nicky Butt has become the latest Newcastle player to plead for a resolution to the chaos at the club

The 34-year-old former Manchester United and England star admits he and his team-mates simply do not know what the future holds as owner Mike Ashley waits for prospective buyers to push through a deal.

Butt told the Journal: "I don't know what to say about the managerial situation.

"The sooner it is resolved, the better - but we have been saying that since mid-January and we are still here, so we will see.

"It's difficult for some players because they don't know where their future lies. I think that's a difficult one.

"But for pre-season, it's just a case of keeping everyone fit and injury-free, and [caretaker boss] Chris Hughton is doing a good job of that.

"The season is going to be a tough one. It's a very difficult league we are in now.

"Things won't be as easy as maybe some people think they will be in the Championship.

"It's going to be a massive challenge for us, but hopefully it's one that we are going to be able to match.''

Former skipper Alan Shearer, who took charge for the final eight games of last season, remains ready and willing to take the job, and he continues to enjoy popular support.

However, the prospect of him being appointed before a sale goes through appears to have receded with the consortia currently looking to finalise a deal, adamant they want to install their own manager.

Butt said: "I think the job needs to be (going to) someone of Alan's stature.

"I do feel Alan is favoured by a lot of people, and I do feel that he would do a very good job.''

In the meantime, vital time is being lost as the process of re-shaping a squad of high wage earners and assimilating replacements remains on hold.

Butt said: "It's well documented that the club needs a bit more strength in depth, but it's frustrating because time is running out to bring in players.

"It's ideal to get players in early doors so that you can bond with them, but it's frustrating when you are still waiting and almost falling behind other teams.''

Sources at Tyneside have insisted that efforts to secure a deal with prospective buyers, who will then appoint their own manager, are ongoing.

There is, though, a growing realisation within the Tyneside hierarchy that, if a sale does not go through soon, they will have to do something on the managerial front, and that could only be on a temporary basis.

The start of the new season is a little more than three weeks away - the Magpies travel to West Brom on August 8 - and the process of re-shaping the squad is yet to get underway.

Several players have already registered their displeasure with the lack of progress off the field, and some have indicated privately that their patience is wearing thin.

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